Eventhough coronavirus has likely forced you to make big changes to the way you operate, it’s still absolutely possible to grow your local business at a time like this. You just have to be smart about it.
You have to put in the time if you’re looking to reap the benefits. Don’t focus on the short-term outcome of your work. Look to the long term. Build sincere value and look to help your customers.
Below are our top tips to scale your business.
- Get to know your existing customers better
Customers’ perceptions can make or break your business. Deliver quality experiences and products, and they’ll quickly sing your praises, mess it up, and they’ll tell the world even faster. Fast growth depends on making your current and potential customers happy with their experience.
You went through the process of identifying a target market when developing your business plan. Now you have an active customer base you need to engage with them to improve your business.
Whether it’s through a quarterly survey, user reviews, or direct customer service communications, you need to be asking for honest feedback.
And while direct feedback from your customer base is invaluable, you need to also be paying attention to the market and your competitors. Conducting a market analysis on a regular basis ensures that you’re aware of any competitor moves and how different economic events may affect your customers.
Doing these things provides a full picture of potential avenues for growth.
- Boost your customer service.
Another great method of growing your business is to focus on providing superior customer service. If your current customers are treated exceptionally, they’ll be more likely to leave positive reviews, recommend you to their friends, and of course purchase from your business again.
When you go the extra mile, such as by offering discounts if a customer has a poor experience or following up to ensure a client was satisfied with your product or service, you establish a reputation for great customer service.
Let your customers know that they are valued. If they have problems, make sure you address them right away. If they have questions, take time to answer them. They should not feel like things are difficult for them if they raise certain issues. Social media is a great way to understand your customers by listening to them. If they are satisfied with the customer service, they might even recommend you to others.
- Nurture existing customers and look for new opportunities
It’s common when looking for growth opportunities to immediately try and attract new customers, but what about your current ones?
Proactively approach your existing customers and ask them what current pain-points they experience, what needs they have, which products or services they wish they had. You already did the hardest part, obtaining a loyal customer. There are likely heaps of opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell them new products and services that would make them even more in love with your business while helping you grow faster.
- Don’t be afraid of social media
Even if you don’t have an online business, expanding your online brand presence is crucial to getting your product in front of more eyes, especially if your product sells directly to consumers.
Post content consistently. Whether you share content via a blog, newsletter or Twitter account, posting regularly and being “active” across multiple social media channels will help your followers stay interested and engaged with your brand.
You should be cautious of how quickly you can burn through your time and cash on these channels. Especially if you go the paid route.
Run a promotion. Generate buzz around your business with a giveaway or contest. This expands your reach to other audiences.
- Spend Time Attending Networking Events
Part of growing your business is making the right partnerships and knowing your business community. Networking events allow you to connect with like-minded individuals, many of whom have unique perspectives.
Having a strong network can lead to new customers, partnerships, employees, and even investors. It’s also a great way to share industry insights, emerging trends, and best practices that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
These events can also lead to personal growth, a great way to do this is by finding a mentor. A way to learn best practices is to be mentored directly by experts who can guide you on your skills-building goal.
- Support your community
Giving back to your community and being socially responsible is a great way to grow your brand and showcase your business values. Hosting your own community events, whether it’s running a fundraiser, sponsoring a local sports team or offering exclusive deals. Creating a unique experience for your customers will foster more personal relationships with them.
If you host events in your area, you’ll increase brand awareness and show your community that you are invested in their wellbeing. When you are committed to them, they’ll feel more loyalty to your business.
Aside from donating and sponsoring, you can also look internally and promote socially responsible business practices. This could mean giving employees paid time to volunteer, or only purchasing supplies from local vendors. Do the right thing and grow your brand reputation in support of your community.
- Measure what works and refine your approach as you go
The most important way for small business owners to get exposure and expand is to not shy away from customer feedback.
Monitor your business and customers as you go, find out what is working and what is not and be prepared to adapt. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Refine your approach if something is not working and focus more time on the activities that achieve the best results.
You can also look too collaborating and working with others. Reach out to your peers in the industry and build a powerful network.